Category: Howe Street

Purple Orgy / Roger Wilco on Howe Street

Purple Orgy (1968) and Roger Wilco (1977) were situated at 57 Howe Street – later named Juice Box (2011) and more recently, Treasure Island (2016).

Purple Orgy

There nothing to verify the meaning of this name except for the purple paintwork.

Ziggy and the Green Spleens 1968241

Purple Orgy. 57 Howe Street. DCC Archives, City Planning Collection (c.1968)

Roger Wilco

See the flatties in 1977 along with their sign for the flat Roger Wilco (posted by Karin Williams).

May O’Hagan recalls living in Roger Wilco in 1978, “The huge sniff balls. The discussions on anarchy. And the green van inscribed with ‘I’d rather have a free bottle in front of me than a pre-fontal lobotomy’.” On questioning her about the nature of sniff balls, she elucidated,  “We saved our roaches, then cut them up into little pieces, then wrapped them into a ball in cigarette paper. Stuck a needle in the ball (about the size of a marble), put a match to it and passed it around and sniffed it.” (Facebook comments 17 July 2015).

Kate Ryan “The flat actually had a painted sign that ran like a ribbon on one weatherboard at the front…..it said “Play is better than work”, I wonder if it is still there under the present paintwork, it had been painted directly on the house” Lachy Paterson “I think Karin painted that slogan, also from a Kliban book.” (Facebook comments 18 July 2015).

The flat, Roger Wilco, spawned more named flats across the country: Gumboot Wilco (Invercargill), Cousin Wilco (Palmerton), Island Wilco (Rarotonga), Country Wilco, and Wilco National Park (Auckland). 

The origin of the flat name Roger Wilco was a cartoon character created by the American B. Kliban who was particularly popular in the late 1970s. You can see a picture of the Roger Wilco character in the The Stanford Daily, Volume 172, Issue 18, 18 October 1977, this image was reproduced from his book, “Whack your Porcupine”, 1976. Roger Wilco has an other meaning, it’s roots are in radio communications lexicon, a hangover from WW11 – Roger (acknowledge) Wilco (Will comply). It has a particular connection with airmen. It’s not known if there is a connection between this and Kliban’s character.

Kliban describes himself as a beatnik in the 1960s, wearing black turtlenecks and drinking a lot, which I’m sure, along with his art, was a point of connection for many students at the time.

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Treasure Island on Howe Street

This 5 man flat was named after the novel of the same name by Robert Louis Stevenson. The flatties, all from Auckland, listened to the audio book of Treasure Island on their summer road trip back to Dunedin.

The name of the flat is also influenced by its golden colour (think gold, m’ hearties) and the residents further embraced the name of their flat by dressing as pirates for the Hyde Street party this year (see below).

The flatties were interviewed in 2016 and featured on NewsHub.

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A post shared by Joel Curran (@joelcurran_) on